Having earned two degrees in English and taught the subject on the university level, let me tell you something. Words are powerful! I am observing a HypnoBabies class as part of my doula training–it’s been so interesting and fun to interact with the expecting parents! One thing that I love about HypnoBabies and HypnoBirthing is the discussion of how we ought to revise the way we talk about birth. The suggestions made in these courses guide us away from a language of fear and pain and toward a vocabulary of power and safety. I am going to try to make using these words a habit to add my one small voice to the growing understanding that though birthing is intense, it is not something we need to fear. Here are some suggestions, courtesy of HypnoBabies, for a new and improved birth vocabulary:
Pressure Waves instead of contractions.
Birthing Time instead of labor.
Transformation instead of transition
Practice Birthing instead of false labor.
Baby instead of fetus.
Birth instead of delivery.
Can you see how this changes things? Just read those words again–contractions, labor, false labor, delivery. If birthing is a “labor” that we and our babies need to be “delivered” from, if our “fetus” arrives after “false labor” and then “contractions,” what kind of experience are we anticipating? Really, when you think about each of those terms, they are pretty negative, aren’t they?
I know it might seem kind of hokey to use words like “pressure waves” and “birthing time,” but soon they’ll become habit. Using words like these teaches your mind that it doesn’t need to be afraid, that your body will know what to do. Let’s change things up and start honoring the process by using words that speak to the power and transformative nature of birth.